Despite local outcry, PennDOT plans to hold off on making public safety improvements at Newark Road and Baltimore Pike junction – Daily Local

NEW GARDEN – Every day people cross Newark Road and Baltimore Pike at one of Chester County’s busiest and most dangerous intersections.

Newark and Baltimore are state highways owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

“This is the worst intersection in Chester County. We would love to work with PennDOT and bring it into the construction lineup,” said New Garden Township Supervisory Board Chairman Stephen Allaband. quickly, he added.

Newark Road is posted at 25 mph and attracts an average of 7,700 vehicles a day, 9% of which are trucks, according to the latest traffic survey. And Old Baltimore Pike, with a posted speed limit of 35 mph, draws 11,500 vehicles a day, 13% of which are tractor-trailers.

Since 2004, New Garden Township has taken steps to address ongoing safety issues at this intersection. First, buy a property on the northwest corner of the intersection and bulldoze an old run-down house, then donate that land to PennDOT for the state to use to widen the causeway for the traffic turning onto Baltimore Pike southbound from Newark Road.

“We offered the land to PennDOT for upgrades,” Allaband said.

These improvements have not yet happened, almost 20 years ago now.

Still, “that’s where we started with this intersection investment,” he said. The cost of purchasing the land at the corner of two state roads, Newark Road and Baltimore Pike, was $250,000 in 2004.

A driver heads south on Newark Road towards Route 41 crossing Baltimore Pike in New Garden on Friday afternoon. (JEN SAMUEL — MEDIANEWS GROUP)

Also at the township’s expense, Allaband said, New Garden spent $500,000 to develop an architectural design to improve the intersection and also address stormwater management issues.

“Anything to get the ball rolling with PennDOT,” he said.

About five years ago, PennDOT redid the intersection.

“I don’t think they’ve done anything since,” Allaband said.

When PennDOT paved the intersection about five years ago, the department installed two small pedestrian buttons that were added to two different corners of the intersection, one to a post at the southeast corner of the intersection and one at the northeast corner. It was reported that another signal was hit by a semi-truck at the northwest corner and was never replaced.

A “dangerous” place

Every day, many people cross Newark Road from the southeast corner to the southwest corner without the safety of yellow-painted crosswalks on the street to guide them, or the benefit of the contemporary traffic lights of specially designed crosswalks. designed and installed to protect the public – pedestrians – from oncoming traffic.

A man crosses Newark Road, without the protection of a crosswalk signal to guide him and alert nearby drivers, to visit the local market at the southwest corner of Baltimore Pike and Newark Road.  The electric pole shows damage from multiple accidents.  (JEN SAMUEL??
A man crosses Newark Road, without the protection of a crosswalk signal to guide him and alert nearby drivers, to visit the local market at the southwest corner of Baltimore Pike and Newark Road. The electric pole shows damage from multiple accidents. (JEN SAMUEL — MEDIANEWS GROUP)

It is the home of Toughkenamon, a historic village in New Garden Township, south of Kennett Square and north of the boroughs of Avondale. The majority of residents first settled in the community decades ago as migrant workers employed by the mushroom industry. There are also many families in the town whose ancestors were former settlers in the village dating back over 100 years.

“As of now, this project has just entered the final design phase and is currently a PennDOT project,” said Robyn Briggs, community relations coordinator for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. “The estimated time for this project is possibly 2025. The estimated cost of the project is over $6 million and it will be funded 80% by federal funds and 20% by public funds.”

The cost includes $750,000 for right-of-way acquisitions. The township already owns property on the northwest side of the intersection.

Briggs said the major problem is the lack of left turn lanes, lack of pedestrian facilities and lack of sufficient turning radius. “

These improvements require a capital project to make these major safety improvements and will require the acquisition of a right of way and the relocation of utilities,” she said.

Briggs continued, “Now that the project has entered the final design phase, a presentation will take place before the township at a public meeting in the future. The public will have a chance to view the plans and provide feedback at the public meeting. Suggestions and questions on the final intersection design, if any, will be considered. »

Miguel Morales, a recent graduate of Kennett High School, has lived in Toughkenamon for six years. He plans to become a mechanic.

“I see kids crossing here every day,” said Morales, 18.

"I see children crossing here every day,
“I see children crossing here,” said Miguel Morales, 18, of New Garden. (JEN SAMUEL — MEDIANEWS GROUP)

“Semi-trucks always come down that hill really fast and they’re very heavy and can’t always brake well,” he said on Friday.

Within three miles there are numerous crosswalks at Kennett Square.

“It’s not just because they think they have more people there. They don’t really care about the people here because it’s a small town. There is less money.

Still, “Every life matters,” Morales said.